•    Cross Border Traders urge EAC Partner States to fully implement the Common Market Protocol
•    EABC-TMEA kick off second Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) with Trade Facilitation Agencies at One-Stop Borders in the EAC Partner States.
•    EABC Assesses Trade Facilitation at Busia OSBP

Busia, Uganda, 24th September 2019:- The EABC – TMEA kicked off the second Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) with Trade Facilitation Agencies at Busia One-Stop Border Post,  to interrogate if EAC agreements and practices ease doing business across EAC borders.

“EAC should eliminate NTBs and implement agreed EAC directives to boost intra EAC trade to 50% which is currently low as 12%,” said Hon. Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO during the EABC-TMEA Public-Private Dialogue with Trade Facilitation Agencies at Busia One-Stop Border Post on 23rd September 2019.
The PPDs focus is on the extent to which Partner States are translating the EAC Common Market and Customs Union Protocols into policies that support the actualization of free movement of goods and people.

Hon. Mathuki urged the business community and officials from Trade Facilitation Agencies to embrace the vision of a borderless East Africa for trade. He called for open dialogue aimed at coming up with solutions to barriers to the movement of goods and services at the Busia Border.

“Let’s talk openly one another to facilitate trade, political goodwill is there, so let’s action, if we don’t get it right at the EAC level it will be more challenging at the AfCFTA level,” said Hon. Mathuki.

Harmonization of standards and SPS measures for timber, plants (sugarcane) and live animals are among keys issues hindering growth of trade between Kenya and Uganda trade.

In her remarks, Mrs. Mary Ngechu, EABC Director, said supporting women and SMEs to take advantage of the EAC region integration agenda is key and has been incorporated in EABC initiatives. She urged for creation of awareness on the EAC Simplified Trade Regime for small-scale traders especially women.

In his remarks, Mr. Allan Ngugi reiterated TMEA’s commitment to supporting regional integration and improving the livelihood of East Africans by facilitating trade with a view of removing barriers to trade.

He further reflected that historically, there were no borders, boundaries, and barriers to trade in the EAC. He noted that it is now 15 years of the EAC Customs Union. He echoed  EABC CEO’s statement that the  EAC region should target increasing intra-EAC trade to at least 50%, by eliminating NTBs, barriers to trade and implementation of agreed EAC decisions.

Mr. Stuart Mwesigwa, EABC Director representing EABC Chairman, Mr. Nick Nesbitt officially opened the private-public dialogue with trade facilitation agency at Busia OSBP.

He highlighted the important role of the Bureaus of Standards, Revenue Authorities, Police/ Security Officers to work in partnership with the private sector to facilitate trade across borders. He urged the business people and the government officials to identify the problems and come up with solutions towards elimination NTBs, reduce time and cost of doing business.

Mr. Joseph Etomet Tembo, Ministry of EAC Affairs, reiterated the Republic of Uganda commitment to facilitate trading across EAC borders.

Mr. Wakhungu Juma, Ministry of EAC Affairs, Kenya said the EAC is anchored on private-led initiatives, the private sector is the core stakeholder of EAC.

In his remarks, Mr. Wakhungu said Africa’s share of international trade is around 2%, despite abundant continent. He emphasized on the need to harness these resources, facilitate trade and abolish NTBs for the EAC to play its rightful role as part and parcel of the building block of the AfCFTA.

Mr. Evariste Mwapundu, EAC Secretariat representing the EAC Secretary-General emphasized on the importance of efficiency of agencies to facilitate exports of goods manufactured in the region. He said borders should become irrelevant to enhance regional value chains.
The PPD brought together officials from Ministries of EAC Affairs, Immigration, bureaus of standards, plant and animal health, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), Revenue Authority, Police, cross border traders, transporters, exporters, importers, business leaders and women in business under one roof. It was an opportunity for open dialogue to ensure policies work for businesses at the ground level.

During the dialogue, Uganda Revenue Authority enlightened small scale trades about the export levy on fish (appx. 0.02% per Kg of fish). Small-scale traders of fish have insufficient knowledge on the levy hence more vulnerable to harassment, corruption, bribes and excessive charges by unscrupulous customs officers.

Arising recommendations from the forum aimed to facilitate trade include: Kenya Revenue Authority to deploy staff in Uganda beginning 1st October this year as a way of implementing the Single Customs Territory; Long queues of trucks at Uganda Revenue Authority Busitema checkpoint to be addressed through a weigh-in-motion  weighbridge; Joint Border Committees (JBC) to hold regular meetings to address cross-border issues that arise from time to time; Simplified Trade regime for cross border traders dealing in plants and live animals to be explored; Kenya Revenue Authority to install cargo scanners at the Busia OSBP.

The issues and recommendations raised from the dialogue will be incorporated into the agenda of the upcoming Kenya-Uganda bilateral forum.


  1. Need for adequate warehousing for effective storage of goods at the border to mitigate against predicaments such as system glitches, and extreme weather.

Revenue Authorities called upon the Private  Sector to put up private warehouses in Kenya side.

  1. Need for the Partner States to sign and implement the Niamey Convention on cross-border cooperation in order to facilitate and increase cross-border trade.
  2. Busia OSBP to install Weigh in Motion equipment at the Cargo Scanner and smart gates to ease registration and reduce time.
  3. Need for Joint Border Committees (JBC) to be held regularly to address issues and stop emerging NTBs.
  4. Need for harmonization of taxation laws and policies to eliminate instances of double and high taxation.
  5. Need for harmonization of standards to enable traders’ access both EAC and International Markets.
  6. Need for the EAC Partner States to expedite the implementation of the monetary union protocol to achieve a single currency in order to avoid losses in foreign exchange fluctuations.
  7. Need to implement respective comparative advantage for both countries in instances where there is an oversupply of goods such as maize and sugarcane.
  8. Need for product value addition and establishment of Common Use Facility for SMEs manufacturers.
  9. Need for inclusivity of minority groups such as women in trade-related policymaking and implementation.
  10. Need for the establishment of a Regional Trade Revolving Fund for cross border traders to be established regionally similar to the one established in Kenya.
  1. Cross border traders encouraged to take advantage of EABC /EALS legal clinic at Busia OSBP to be launched on 1st November 2019.
  2. Need for capacity building for cross border traders on regulations and trade procedures.
  • Need to address the information gap amongst Women Cross border Traders on issues such as the Simplified Tax regime (STR), etc.
  • Need for a Simplified Trade Regime with regard to Standards and SPS Measures to facilitate SMEs.
  • Need to address the knowledge gap amongst cross border traders on how to access financing from financial institutions such as microfinance corporations.
  • Need for sensitization on the EAC and National Trade Information Portals to inform small scale traders on procedures and charges.
  • Need for sensitization on traders on Trade facilitation process including Pre-Arrival Clearance of goods.